A little over three years ago, I was asked to write an article for the Brasenose website reflecting on my first term as an undergraduate student. I recounted the nerves I felt on my first day, which were almost instantly alleviated with the warm and friendly welcome of the student helpers. Soon enough, I was enjoying all of the events that College had to offer, including formal dinners, BOPs, the Christmas Party, and getting involved in the interview process for the next years’ student intake. Having only been a student for nine weeks at the point of writing the article, I was already positive that Brasenose would provide me with the best experiences and opportunities that Oxford had to offer. Now that I have graduated, I can say for sure that this was the case.
During the three years I spent at Brasenose I enjoyed numerous exciting events, not least the Brasenose College Ball, which is held every two years and treats guests to an array of food, drink and activities to keep them entertained throughout the night until 6am. I got involved in College life by taking on the role of student Domestic Representative in my second year, which left me in charge of all matters to do with food and accommodation for the undergraduate student body. Whilst it was not the easiest job, I definitely learnt a lot about organisation and diplomacy during that year! However, what I value the most from my time at Brasenose is the family atmosphere that was created by the students, tutors and support staff, and I have no doubt that these relationships will remain long after the completion of my degree.
In addition to the experiences provided by Brasenose, the University gave me the chance to develop my knowledge in a subject I was passionate about- Experimental Psychology. In the first two years I benefitted from a wide syllabus ranging from Perception to Developmental Psychology. Here, I was able to learn about a variety of different research fields and identify which areas I found most interesting. In my third year I choose two advanced modules, specialising in cognitive neuroscience. This provided me with a more in depth understanding of the field that I desired to study further. In addition, with the help of a Brasenose College Annual Fund Grant, I completed a research project using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to investigate recognition memory.
I graduated from Brasenose in the summer of 2018 and have since moved to the University of Birmingham where I am completing a Research Masters in the Cook Lab. Here, I am designing tasks to improve the ways in which a number of psychological phenomena are measured. In September, I will begin a PhD in the same lab investigating the links between an individual’s movement and their social interaction skills, with a particular focus on how this relationship presents itself in individuals with Parkinson’s Disease and Autism Spectrum Disorder. I hope to improve understanding of why problems in these areas often arise together.
I will be forever grateful to Brasenose College for supporting me throughout my degree and enabling me to reach both my personal and academic goals. I am particularly thankful to the amazing Schools Officer Joe Organ, without whom I may never have applied to Oxford. I know there are many others like me who have benefitted from his passion and dedication for outreach, and I sincerely thank him on behalf of us all.
By Lydia Hickman (Formerly of Didcot Sixth Form Centre)